Can a Writer’s Blog Really Help You Get an Agent?

You know the stories.  Julie Powell blogged about tackling Julia Child’s recipes each day, and ended up with Julie & Julia in a book and in the theaters.  Stuff White People Like got a book deal three months after it was launched.  And then there’s the parody blog & book, Options: the Secret Life of Steve Jobs, by “fake Steve Jobs.”

But those deals were all turning the actual blog into a book.  Anything we hear about agents trolling blogs for promising writers seems like rumors and dreams.

Until it happens to you.

I got this message in my email a week and a half ago:

Hi Jennifer:
      I am a literary agent scouting on behalf of a major publisher for someone to write a book on a young adult topic. I found your blogs and wonder if you might have interest in hearing more.

What’s that?  Someone found MY blog and wants to talk about a book?  Yeah, right, and they’ve got some Louisiana swampland to sell me, too.  It has to be spam.  Or at least a practical joke.

Then I read the next paragraph:  I have spent lots of time in Ireland and would love to chat about that too.

Okay, so she’s actually read my blog.  I click on her link and she looks legit.  I Google her, find a reference to her reviewing manuscripts as part of a writing contest prize.  Preditors & Editors says it’s a reputable agency.

Oh my gosh, could this actually be true?

Six days later (or 4 or 8 or some other number – my head’s still spinning), agent Marilyn Allen of Allen O’Shea Literary Agency and I have e-mailed, talked, and clicked with each other and on this particular project.  I not only have an agent presenting me to a particular editor, but that editor wants me!  ME!  Agent contract and editor’s e-mail agreement are in hand, actual book contract is on its way, and I’m still bouncing off the ceiling.

How did she find me, you ask?  I don’t know.  I asked, but I don’t know if her vague answer was because she had forgotten where she had been browsing when she came across my blog, or because she didn’t want to give her secrets away.  But she had read my blog, and read my Jen’s Writing Desk blog, too, because that’s the bio she had for me.  And, in Sally Field’s words, she liked me, she really liked me!  (Note to self: stop sounding like a five-year-oldDeep breath.  Okay now.)

I can’t give out details for a while, but I can say that they were looking for a writer with children’s experience, a casual tone, and some humor.  Maybe my other credentials impressed them, maybe not.  And now I’m swamped with lots of research on a topic I love, and very tight deadlines!

So thank you, thank you, all my fellow WANA bloggers and the awesome Kristen Lamb, without whom my blog would be read only by my family, and not often at that!  Without your encouragement and the example of your fantastic blog voices, I’d still be . . . well, where I was two weeks ago!

Needless to say, my ROW80 goals are shifting a bit.  I’ve put in loads of hours on research for this project, which is now taking the place of working on my novel.  I’ve tweeted just a few, exercised once, and I’m posting a regular blog and my ROW80 check-in together right now.  I feel like I’m working hard (‘cuz I am!) and keeping a bit of balance in my life, but I’m cutting my time short with my mother so I can go home and work on this, and that has me a little off kilter.

Ah, well, can’t have everything.  And since she was the first to say I needed to go home and work harder . . . who am I to argue with my mother?  She’s more stubborn than I am!

What agent stories do you have to tell?  How did you get yours?  Do you have a splendiferous query letter? Or are you planning a restroom ambush at a writer’s conference?

If you’re an ROW80 writer, how are your goals coming?  (Click this Linky to read other ROW80 blogs.)


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